If you are filing a personal injury case against someone and have missed work or will no longer be able to work at the same capacity in the future, then you may have grounds to sue for lost wages or lost earning capacity. Keep reading to learn what these terms mean and then call The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation with a personal injury attorney.
The Difference Between Lost Wages and Lost Earning Capacity
These are actually two different terms, both of which you can recover. Any income you lost before the lawsuit began (or the effective date of the settlement agreement) is “lost wages.” When you receive compensation for “lost earning capacity,” that refers to future losses in the future due to not being able to work at the same level or at all. It is harder to prove lost earning capacity than lost wages because it is a hypothetical that has not yet occurred.
Injuries Do Not Have to Be Permanent
Many people assume that lost earning capacity only applies when the plaintiff has suffered an injury that they will not recover from. This is not true. If the case is settled or goes to trial and the injury has not fully resolved, then lost earning capacity can be issued for future estimated income – even if the injury will eventually heal fully.
There is a Time Limit
You cannot wait ten years and then sue someone for an injury you sustained. In most instances, you will have two years from the date of the accident. If the case involves the government as a defendant then you will only have six months to file, while a claim that includes only property damage and no physical injuries can be filed up to three years after the date of the accident.
That said, there are exceptions. For example, if the plaintiff does not discover the injury for six years, then the statute might not begin to accrue until that time. However, the court takes into account not just when a person was aware of their injury but when they should have discovered it.
There Are Several Types of Income That Can Be Included in Lost Earning Capacity
When you think of lost earning capacity, do not begin and end with salary. It may also include your average amount of overtime, the commissions you are missing out on, bonuses, raises you are likely to have gotten, vacation days, personal days, sick days, profit sharing, and, if you are self-employed, self-employment income.
If you have lost income and/or lost earning capacity due to an injury you suffered, we recommend you contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation as soon as possible.